Benton, Hamada named 2014 ‘Hearts of Gold’

Don Benton, left and Paul Hamada.


Don Benton, left and Paul Hamada.



It’s been said that certain individuals have a “heart of gold.” These people make a difference and enrich the community through their good works and selfless dedication. They act from the heart and are driven to help others.

Each year, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Foundation honors a community member and a health care professional whose golden hearts shine brightly. This year’s recipient are Don Benton and Dr. Paul Hamada.

The annual Hearts of Gold Celebration benefits an expansion of cancer services offered at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital. Hearts of Gold happens 6 p.m., Saturday, Mar. 7, at Best Western Hood River Inn,1108 E. Marina Way, Hood River.

Benton is well known in the Columbia Gorge for volunteering his time. After 26 years in the Navy and 10 years working civilian jobs, he decided to continue working – just not for money. He joined his first non-profit board in 2001 and now is a member of more than a dozen non-profit boards and advisory committees for such organizations as The Next Door, Inc., Opportunity Connections, Helping Hands Against Violence and United Way. He truly gives his time, talent and treasure to improve the quality of life for individuals in our community.

Dr. Hamada changed the lives of people in our community through more than 40 years of service as a physician in Hood River. In 1970, he was one of just eight physicians practicing in our area. There are now more than 100. He helped establish an emergency room, intensive care unit and other services and was the only internist in the Columbia Gorge, serving patients as far away as Yakima and Bend. For many years, he took calls 365 days per year. His patients had a unique care experience, as Dr. Hamada and his wife and office manager, Cathy, served them like family.

The Hearts of Gold Celebration is open to the public and is known as one of Hood River’s finest events. In addition to honoring Hearts of Gold award winners, guests will be treated to a lovely evening featuring a cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, a classic dinner, live music and a short program from the foundation. A limited number of tickets ($75 per person) are available and can be purchased by calling 541-387-6242. All proceeds benefit the expansion of cancer services at Providence Hood River for patients and their families. Phil Hukari and Dr. Stephan Coffman were the 2013 recipients.



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